The sky is the limit for Kelly Proper, who secured qualification for the World Indoor Championships in Qatar after improving her own Irish long jump record in Vienna last Saturday.
The Ferrybank AC athlete will be competing against the planet’s best in Doha in mid-March thanks to a leap of 6 metres 62 centimetres, a three centimetre improvement on her previous record jump.
Kelly, who won the Vienna Indoor Gala by 35 centimetres (with Latvia’s Lauma Griva in second) was understandably delighted with her performance.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” she told Kieran O’Connor via a phone link at the Park Hotel Sports Awards, which she couldn’t attend due to Saturday’s meet. “To break the record again in front of my mother Yvonne and my coaches Brid and Alan (Golden) was just fantastic. This year, for me, was all about qualifying for the World Indoor Championship, which I’ve done now, so the European outdoors in July now becomes the next aim.”
A proud Seamus Cooper, representing Kelly at the Park Hotel, was equally thrilled by Kelly’s latest achievement. “She’s a fantastic athlete, always has been from a young age, incredibly dedicated and gives her all to her training every day of the week,” he said.
“That effort, combined with her natural talent, was always going to take her places, and she’s got her latest reward for all that hard work by qualifying for Qatar.” Reflecting on a thoroughly disciplined Christmas, Kelly stated: “It can be hard work at Christmas when it comes to concentrating on training, but I knew I only had until February to achieve the qualifying jump for Qatar. But I’m glad I did what I had to do during Christmas – it’s definitely worth it.” Preparation is the key for any athlete, and Kelly’s preparations for 2010 are already paying off. But there’s a long road ahead, she added.
“You can only take things a few months at a time…but I can’t wait, I’m off to a major championship!”